Europe on a Budget: Top 5 Affordable European Cities to Explore in 2024 - Travilla

Europe on a Budget: Top 5 Affordable European Cities to Explore in 2024

Traveling to Europe is often seen as a luxury, conjuring images of lavish French cuisine, gondola rides in Venice, and shopping in Milan. But what if you could experience the rich culture, history, and beauty of Europe without breaking the bank? In this guide, we'll explore some of the most affordable European cities that promise an enriching experience for budget-conscious travellers. From the hidden gems of Eastern Europe to the cost-effective capitals in the West, we've got you covered. So, pack your bags and get ready for an adventure that won't empty your wallet!

1. Lisbon, Portugal - A Coastal Charm

Nestled on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is a city where traditional charm meets contemporary culture at an affordable price. Known for its historic tramways, vibrant street art, and the soulful sounds of Fado music, Lisbon offers an experience that's both authentic and budget-friendly.

  • Accommodation: Hostels and budget hotels in the Alfama or Bairro Alto districts offer comfort at a fraction of the cost.
  • Cuisine: Indulge in inexpensive yet delicious Portuguese delicacies like 'pastel de nata' in local bakeries.
  • Attractions: Many of Lisbon's museums and historical sites have free admission days. The Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery are must-visits.

Budget-Friendly Hotels:

  1. Dos Reis by The Beautique Hotels: Average price $83/night. Features include concierge services, a restaurant, and free WiFi. Located near Miradouro da Senhora do Monte and Rossio. 
  2. We Hate F Tourists: Average price $15/night. Offers air-conditioned rooms, a garden, free WiFi, and a shared lounge. Notable for its terrace, bar, and affordable breakfast.
  3. Browns Avenue Hotel: Average price $186/night. Features include an outdoor swimming pool, terrace, restaurant, bar, and free WiFi. 

Budget-Friendly Restaurants:

  1. Floresta Das Escadinhas: Known for Mediterranean and Barbecue dishes. A popular spot with a variety of choices.
  2. Jam Club: Offers Mediterranean and Portuguese cuisine. A great place to experience local flavors.
  3. Rose Stupa Resturant: Serves Indian and International cuisine, perfect for those looking for a different taste. 

2. Krakow, Poland - Rich History on a Budget

Krakow, Poland's former royal capital, boasts a rich history and stunning architecture. It's an ideal destination for those who want to delve deep into Europe's past without spending a fortune.

  • Affordable Stay: Consider staying in Kazimierz, the historic Jewish quarter, for both affordability and cultural richness.
  • Eat Like a Local: Try 'pierogi' and other Polish delights at local milk bars, where hearty meals come at surprisingly low prices.
  • Free Attractions: Visit the Wawel Castle grounds for free, and explore the Main Market Square, one of the largest medieval squares in Europe.

Budget-Friendly Hotels:

  1. Hotel Krupnicza 30 Old Town: Average price $68/night. Close to National Museum of Krakow and Town Hall Tower, offering free WiFi and luggage storage.
  2. Campanile Krakow South Debniki: Average price $57/night. Features include a restaurant, air-conditioned rooms, and free WiFi. Close to the tram system and city centre.
  3. H11 Aparthotel Old Town: Average price $88/night. A sustainable accommodation with soundproof rooms, free WiFi, and breakfast served at an adjacent coffee place.

Budget-Friendly Restaurants:

  1. Mr. Black Cocktail Bar: Known for its vibrant atmosphere and diverse menu including Bars & Pubs.
  2. Pierogi MR Vincent: Offers authentic Polish cuisine, specializing in pierogi. 
  3. Mirror Bistro - Pierogi Bystro: Another great choice for Polish dishes, especially pierogi. 

3. Budapest, Hungary - A Blend of History and Modernity

Budapest, the 'Pearl of the Danube', is famed for its stunning architecture, thermal baths, and a lively cultural scene, all accessible on a modest budget.

  • Budget Accommodations: The city's hostels offer great value, often including free walking tours.
  • Economical Eats: Savour Hungarian classics like 'goulash' in local eateries without spending much.
  • Must-See Sights: Don't miss the iconic Chain Bridge and the historic Buda Castle. Many of Budapest's thermal baths offer discounted entry on certain days.

Budget-Friendly Hotels:

  1. The Amberlyn Suite Hotel: Average price $73/night. Located centrally, near the Hungarian National Museum. Offers comfortable, clean rooms, free WiFi, and a helpful reception staff.
  2. SmartApart: Average price $48/night. Provides accommodations with seating areas and is within close proximity to Heroes' Square and Margaret Island Japanese Garden. Offers free WiFi and optional private parking. 
  3. Three Corners Downtown Hotel: Average price $81/night. Well situated in the city center, this hotel offers air-conditioned rooms, a fitness center, free WiFi, a garden, and a bar. Close to attractions like St. Stephen's Basilica.

Budget-Friendly Restaurants:

  1. 9BAR: Known for coffee and tea, this café offers a cozy ambiance for a relaxed meal. 
  2. Local Korner: Offers pizza and international cuisine, ideal for a casual dining experience. 
  3. Rabbit Hole Bar & Cafe: A bar and pub known for its vibrant atmosphere and a diverse menu. 

4. Valencia, Spain - Affordable Mediterranean Splendour

Valencia, with its mix of futuristic architecture and Gothic landmarks, offers a Mediterranean experience without the hefty price tag often associated with coastal destinations.

  • Stay on a Budget: Opt for guesthouses or budget hotels in the Ciutat Vella to be close to major sights.
  • Dining: Enjoy affordable yet sumptuous seafood and the original 'paella Valenciana' in local markets.
  • Free Activities: Visit the Turia Gardens and the breathtaking City of Arts and Sciences. The latter offers reduced ticket prices for students and seniors.

Budget-Friendly Hotels:

  1. Apartamentos Core Suites Valencia: Average price $131/night. Located in Camins al Grau district, offers a rooftop pool, sun terrace, 24-hour front desk, and free WiFi. 
  2. Fetén Ciutat Vella: Average price $116/night. These modern, well-equipped apartments are centrally located, close to attractions like the Church of Saint Nicolás and Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados. 
  3. MYR Puerta Serranos: Average price $103/night. Situated conveniently in Valencia, offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, private parking, room service, a terrace, and a 24-hour front desk. 

Budget-Friendly Restaurants:

  1. Aloha Poke VALENCIA: Offers fast food and international cuisine, ideal for a quick and tasty meal. 
  2. Salad Planet: Specializes in fast food and Mediterranean dishes, providing a healthy dining option. 
  3. Burritos - Trafalgar: A Mexican fast food restaurant, perfect for those craving flavors from across the Atlantic. 

5. Riga, Latvia - A Baltic Treasure

Riga, the largest city of the Baltic states, is a hidden gem with its Art Nouveau architecture, vibrant nightlife, and affordable lifestyle.

  • Economical Lodging: Stay in charming guesthouses or hostels in the Old Town for a budget-friendly experience.
  • Dining on a Dime: Explore the Central Market for inexpensive, fresh local produce and traditional Latvian dishes.
  • No-Cost Attractions: Take a stroll through the historic Old Town and enjoy the Art Nouveau district, both free to explore.

Budget-Friendly Hotels in Riga, Latvia:

  1. Aparthotel Amella: Located 1.2 km from the Latvian National Opera, this aparthotel offers recently renovated 4-star accommodations in the Latgales priekšpilsēta district. Features include free private parking, a 24-hour front desk, free WiFi, and comfortable rooms priced from $79 per night​​.
  2. Redstone Apartments: Situated in the center of Riga, Redstone Apartments provides recently renovated, soundproof rooms. This aparthotel, priced from $79 per night, is located near the House of Blackheads and Riga Town Hall Square, offering family rooms and an excellent view​​.
  3. Hotel Saida: Set within less than 1 km of Riga Nativity of Christ Cathedral, Hotel Saida offers free WiFi throughout the property. Priced from $49 per night, it is close to several attractions, including Riga Town Hall Square and Riga Dome Cathedral, and offers a clean, comfortable environment with self check-in and check-out facilities​​.

Budget-Friendly Restaurants in Riga, Latvia:

  1. Riga Central Market: Known as Europe's largest food market, it offers a diverse range of produce including fruits, vegetables, cheese, meats, and prepared dishes. Located near the old town, the market consists of five vast halls originally designed for wartime zeppelins, and caters to street food and pop-up stalls​​.
  2. Folkklubs ALA Pagrabs: This unique underground establishment is known for its Latvian pub cuisine and extensive beer selection. Situated in an ancient wine cellar, it offers a hip and subterranean atmosphere with rustic wooden tables, cozy corners, and live music performances most nights​​.
  3. Lido: A well-known and popular restaurant chain in Riga, Lido offers traditional cuisine in a casual and affordable setting. Customers can select their desired dishes from various counters, and the friendly and accommodating servers ensure a pleasant dining experience​​.

Conclusion

Exploring Europe doesn't have to be a drain on your finances. Cities like Lisbon, Krakow, Budapest, Valencia, and Riga offer a wealth of experiences, from historical sites to culinary delights, all while keeping your budget in check. As you plan your European adventure, remember that the continent's charm lies in its diversity - each city has its unique flavor and experiences, all accessible without a lavish budget.

And for those who dream of more European travels or other destinations around the globe, consider joining the Travilla Flight Club. Our weekly cheap flight deals can help make your travel dreams a reality, keeping you informed of the best flight deals.

Join us here, and let's explore the world together - one budget-friendly destination at a time!

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